The dental implant procedure is minor surgery to replace a missing tooth root an artificial (commonly metal) implant. The implant will give the impression that an actual root exists, so the jawbone can support it properly to prevent bone loss and other oral health complications.
Here, we will discuss all you need to know about the dental implant procedure, what you should expect, and best practices during the recovery period.
The First Consultation: What To Expect
There are in general, two different conditions during your first dental implant consultation:
- You already have a missing tooth for one reason or another, or
- You are going to get a tooth extraction, followed up with a dental implant to fill the missing gap. You might also get a dental crown in this process.
This consultation’s main objectives are:
- To discuss all the possible options for you (i.e. if the procedure is absolutely necessary, or if there are other alternatives)
- To clearly explain the procedure—and the alternatives— to you as the patient candidate
- Answer any questions you might have, so take advantage of this opportunity
- Guide you in making your decision. The dental specialist might ask about your expectation including about possible financing options
CT scan and/or X-ray imaging might be taken to help with a more accurate diagnosis here, and the dentist will generally provide several options depending on your budget and preferences.
The Second Visit: Prosthodontic Exam
Once you’ve agreed with a procedure, the second appointment will be scheduled, where the dental specialist—assisted by a prosthodontist—, will take impressions of your jaw, mouth, and teeth.
The main objective here is to get a more accurate picture of your dental condition, so the dentist and/or the prosthodontist can perform a more in-depth analysis of your oral health and your specific needs for the procedure.
In practice, the impressions will be used in developing not only your dental plant but the dental crown or bridge that might be used in the follow-up treatment after the implant procedure.
As before, use this appointment as an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.
Also, as a side note, in some cases, there is the possibility where a prosthodontic exam is not necessary, so know that this step is not a must.
Dental Implant after an Extraction
As mentioned above, there is a possibility that the dental implant procedure will be performed after an extraction.
Depending on the extraction process, the dental implant procedure might be performed on the same day or you might need a recovery period—for example, when the extracted tooth is infected.
Also, there’s the possibility that the infected tooth has caused bone loss in your jawbone. In such cases, bone grafting or other alternatives might be necessary.
Bone Grafting Before The Dental Implant Procedure
Bone loss in your jawbone might happen when a tooth (or some of your teeth) has been missing for some time, so the bone surrounding the teeth stopped growing properly. In cases of severe infection, your jawbone might also erode (rapidly).
In these cases, the x-ray imaging or CT scan that was taken at the previous exam might determine whether a bone grafting procedure will be necessary before you can proceed with the dental implant procedure.
In a nutshell, bone grafting is a procedure where a bone from another area of the body is “grafted” to the target area (in this case, the jawbone). Recently, the newer methods for the procedure can use a special grafting material instead of your bone.
After the grafting process, typically the patient must wait several months (typically around 4 months) before the bone will grow back as a result of the grafting process.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure itself is fairly straightforward.
Typically the patient will be given local anesthetics so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure—only slight pressures—. The oral surgeon will cut open the gum to expose the bone, and a small hole(s) will be drilled into the jawbone.
Then, the dental implant’s metal artificial root(s) will be placed on this drilled hole. This artificial root is implanted deep into the bone.
After the procedure, a temporary dental prosthetic/denture—such as a temporary crown—will be placed above the implant (generally for aesthetic purposes only).
Dental Implant Recovery Process: All You Need To Know
You may experience:
- Swelling and tenderness of your gums, swelling on your cheek, face, and sometimes, neck
- Minor bruising of your skin (and gums)
- Mild to moderate pain at the implant surgery area
- Minor bleeding that should disappear after a day or two
You can expect these conditions to be cured completely within 7-10 days, at the maximum in 2 weeks’ time.
In general, here are some important best practices to ensure a timely and successful recovery process:
- Don’t smoke during the recovery period (both tobacco and cannabis smoking). Tobacco consumption—including chewing tobacco and other smokeless tobacco consumption—might hinder the recovery and further damage your blood vessels. Avoid smoking in the first week after the surgery.
- Don’t open your lips too wide or pull up your lips, this can tear the wound back open and irritate the gums.
Avoid drinking through a straw during the recovery period, this can create a sucking, vacuuming motion that can impact the damaged tissue.
- Avoid putting any pressure on your sinus area (including blowing your nose and sneezing). If you have to sneeze, do it with your mouth open to lessen the impact.
- Eat soft (pureed) foods and avoid overly hot or cold food/beverages. This diet will last for 10 days to two weeks.
- Avoid eating anything too hard until the gums healed completely.
- Apply cold/warm compress to your cheek and the sides of your face to relieve pressure and help with the swelling
- Rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution. Also, your dentist might prescribe a specific mouthwash to rinse your mouth safely (that can also help with the wound).
- The dentist might prescribe over-the-counter pain medications, ensure that these medications won’t clash with your other existing medications. Consult with your dentist or your doctor.
Here at North York Smile Center for Dental Implants, we provide various options for dental implant procedures to suit your financial conditions and preferences. Give us a call immediately and schedule an appointment so our dental professionals can assist you with the initial examination and help figure out your available options.